How To Actively Listen To Feelings

Feelings matter. When your child is grumbling about something – anything, the best response is to validate their feelings. When someone feels heard, they are more likely to listen to you. Remember that while there are limits on expressing feelings through certain behaviours, there is no limits on the feelings themselves. All feelings are OK. Validating your child’s feelings doesn’t mean that you agree with their grumbles – it just means that you accept them and how they feel. When a child feels heard, it lessens the feeling and they can get on with taking action to solve the problem. Deeply listening to a child is a great relationship builder! Here is a demonstration. The child is complaining and the parent in the upper left corner is blocking the communication by moralizing, rationalizing, threatening and other roadblocks that stop communication. The parent in the right upper corner will active listen. Notice how the feelings are named. The key to listening is lots of practice. You can do it!

About Judy Arnall, BA, DTM, CCFE

BA, DTM, CCFE, Certified child development specialist and master of non-punitive parenting and education practices. Keynote speaker and best-selling author of "Discipline Without Distress", "Parenting With Patience", "Attachment Parenting Tips Raising Toddlers to Teens", and "Unschooling To University."
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